Low-grade inflammation may moderate the effect of behavioral treatment for chronic pain in adults

Julie Lasselin*, Mike K. Kemani, Marie Kanstrup, Gunnar L. Olsson, John Axelsson, Anna Andreasson, Mats Lekander, Rikard K. Wicksell

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Citations (Scopus)
21 Downloads (Pure)


The purpose of the present pilot study was to explore the moderating role of basal inflammation on the effects of behavioral pain treatment in 41 patients with long-standing pain. Baseline pro-inflammatory status moderated behavioral treatment outcomes: higher pre-treatment levels of Tumor Necrosis Factor (TNF)-α and Interleukin (IL)-6 were related to less improvement in pain intensity, psychological inflexibility and in mental health-related quality of life. The treatment outcomes improved in the subgroup that had low levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines at baseline, while the subjects with higher pro-inflammatory status did not. Altogether, results indicate that low-grade inflammation may influence the behavioral treatment outcomes and provide a possible explanation of the heterogeneity in treatment response.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)916-924
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Behavioral Medicine
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2016
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2016. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


  • Chronic low-grade inflammation
  • Chronic pain
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • Cytokines
  • Psychological inflexibility
  • Treatment responders


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